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KARACHI: The local cotton market stable on Wednesday. Market sources told that trading volume was satisfactory.

ICE cotton futures fell to a near one-week low on Tuesday as investors booked profits after prices rose more than 1% in the previous session, while a softer US dollar limited further downside.

The cotton contract for March fell 0.73 cent, or 0.9%, to 81.60 cents per lb by 1:19 p.m. EST (1819 GMT), having earlier touched its lowest since Jan. 20.

The natural fibre rose to a more than two-year high of 83.06 cents per lb in the previous week.

“Yesterday prices got up close to previous highs and this is a short-term correction in the over all up move. The trends are still up,” said Jack Scoville, vice president at Chicago-based Price Futures Group.

Offering some respite to cotton, the US dollar slipped 0.2% against key rivals.

Cotton Analyst Naseem Usman told that Pakistan’s textile sector - which alone attracts around 60% of the total export earnings - reports that they have started losing international buyers’ orders to regional competitors and their new investment and expansion plans have gotten jeopardised in the wake of government’s decision to cut gas supplies for power production to their individual units.

The government has offered them an alternate; to get electricity from the national grid system, as the country is facing acute gas shortage but has power production capacity in surplus. The industrialists, however, do not trust the fragile power distribution system. Besides, power from the national grid stands over 85% expensive compared to own production using gas-fired power generators better known as captive power plants (CPPs).

“(Textile) exporters have started receiving emails from international buyers for cancellation of their buying orders (in the wake of the disconnection of gas supplies),” Pakistan Apparel Forum (APF) Chairman Jawed Bilwani said in a brief statement on Tuesday.

The Punjab Agriculture Committee has recommended to the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) to prepare an incentive programme for farmers to enhance cotton production in Pakistan.

The incentive programme will be submitted to the Federal Cabinet for approval aimed at strengthening the dwindling cotton crop.

While the committee also recommended that the MNFS&R should complete consultation with the stakeholders on the revised Seed Regulatory Framework/Rules and forward the case to the competent authority for consideration.

This was suggested at the 3rd meeting of the Punjab Agriculture Committee held recently in the federal Capital with the Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in the chair. According to the minutes of the meeting, it was also attended by the Chairman CPEC Asim Saleem Bajwa, Federal Minister for Agriculture and National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Punjab Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jehanian Gardezi and a number of senior bureaucrats and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Abdul Hadi, President SITE Association of Industry (SAI) has termed the government’s decision to discontinue gas supply to general industries from 1st Feb and export-oriented sectors from 1st March as “disastrous” for the industry.

He said that on the one hand, the Prime Minister of Pakistan advocated increasing of exports, cut down in imports and creation of more jobs for the people while on the other hand, anti-industry and anti-exports steps are being taken by the government which is beyond comprehension.

Giving details of increase in power tariff, Abdul Hadi said two months ago, government announced reduction in tariff on excess use of electricity.

Now the government has announced to increase power tariff which will ultimately increase the cost of production.

Naseem told that even after go-ahead given by Prime Minister Imran Khan twice, the approval of Textile Policy 2020-25 is still in the doldrums as many important economic ministers, Special Assistants to PM (SAPMs) are showing defiance by opposing the policy tooth and nail, top official sources privy to the development told The News.

“The Commerce Ministry included the Textile Policy in the agenda of ECC many times, but some ECC members are not ready to accord approval to the Textile Policy which ensures electricity tariff at 7.5 cents per unit for five years and RLNG supply at $6.5 per MMBTU. The same members played an important role in the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) for making the decision to stop the gas supply to captive power plants (CPP) meant for export industry from March 1, 2021.”

Naseem told that 4000 bales of Kotri were sold at Rs 10,900 per maund, 1068 bales of Khanewal were sold at Rs 11,500 (seed), 1000 bales of Uch Sharif were sold at Rs 11,300 (seed), 1800 bales of Multan were sold at Rs 11,250 to Rs 11,300, 400 bales of Rahim Yar Khan, 400 bales of Fort Abbas, 200 bales of Dharan Wala were sold at Rs 11,000, 1400 bales of Haroonabad were sold at Rs 10,800 to Rs 10,900, 800 bales of Marrot were sold at Rs 10,800 and 800 bales of Mian Wali were sold at Rs 10,475 to Rs 10,600.

Naseem also told that rate of cotton in Sindh was in between Rs 10,000 to Rs 10,700 per maund. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 10,200 to Rs 11,000 per maund. He also told that Phutti of Sindh was sold in between Rs 3800 to Rs 5000 per 40 kg. The rate of Phutti in Punjab is in between Rs 3500 to Rs 5400 per 40 Kg.

The rate of Banola in Sindh was in between Rs 1600 to Rs 2000 while the price of Banola in Punjab was in between Rs 1800 to Rs 2250. The rate of cotton in Balochistan is Rs 10,000 per maund.

The Spot Rate remained unchanged at Rs 10,800 per maund. The Polyester Fiber was available at Rs 193 per Kg.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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